Job Universe: Audiologist

Audiologists work with people who have hearing, balance, and related ear problems.

  • The job: Audiologists work with people who have hearing, balance, and related ear problems. They examine individuals of all ages and identify those with the symptoms of hearing loss and other auditory, balance, and related sensory and neural problems. Treatment may include examining and cleaning the ear canal, fitting and dispensing hearing aids, and fitting and programming cochlear implants. Audiologic treatment also covers counseling on adjusting to hearing loss, training on the use of hearing instruments, and teaching communication strategies for use in a variety of environments.
  • Outlook: Employment of audiologists is expected to grow 10 percent from 2006 to 2016, but only a few job openings for audiologists will arise from the need to replace those who leave the occupation, because the field is relatively small and workers tend to stay in this occupation until they retire. Hearing loss is strongly associated with aging, so rapid growth in older population groups will cause the number of people with hearing and balance impairments to increase markedly.
  • Experience: Individuals must have at least a master's degree in audiology to qualify for a job. However, a first professional or doctoral degree is becoming more common. As of early 2007, eight states required a doctoral degree or its equivalent. The professional doctorate in audiology, or Au.D., requires approximately eight years of university training and supervised professional experience. Audiologists are regulated by licensure or registration in all 50 states.
  • The not-so-good: The job is not physically onerous but does require attention to detail and intense concentration. The emotional needs of patients and their families may be demanding.
  • Pay: Median annual wage and salary earnings of audiologists were $57,120 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $47,220 and $70,940.

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This information is from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.